Antwerp 1594(?) - c. 1640
Still Life with a Venetian Glass, a Rummer and a Burning Candle
Panel, 23.7 x 36.7 cm
Signed : CLARA.P.1607 (lower left on table edge)
Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder, The Hague
This still life, the earliest by Clara Peeters, has a meaning not often encountered in this genre. Rosemary, which keeps its aroma for a long time, was a common symbol for eternity, but also for a married woman. This painting is in fact an allegory of marriage. The jewels are wedding jewels: strawberries, with their countless seeds, symbolised fertility and gold strawberries were therefore a perfect gift for a bride. They form a splendid decoration on the wedding table. The ring is a typical wedding ring and the delicacies (one in the shape of a heart) are wedding sweets and cakes. Both glasses - a robust berkemeyer and an elegant façon de Venise glass, one filled with white wine, the other with red - were intended in this context to personify the bride and groom. From this it is possible to deduce that other seventeenth-century artists may have intended a similar allusion when portraying glasses of red and white wine in conjunction. Rosemary and strawberry jewels appear as wedding symbols in other paintings too.